Upon passing the Qualifying Exam, it is expected that students will choose a Ph.D. thesis advisor, if they have not already done so, and begin their Ph.D. thesis research. Within 12 to 18 months of passing the QE, the student needs to select a Ph.D. Thesis Examination Committee and schedule his or her Ph.D. Proposal Defense.

It is required to email nparker1@umd.edu one month in advance if you are presenting your Ph.D. Proposal Defense.

The Ph.D. Proposal Defense consists of 1) a written part and 2) an oral presentation to the Ph.D. Thesis Examination Committee.

  • The written part consists of an introduction to the field, a problem statement, the objectives of the research and the approach that will be taken, the expected results, and a timeline of the work. A concise review of the literature is expected, along with a bibliography of the most important literature. The length of the written Ph.D. Proposal is expected to be between 15 to 20 double space pages (12pt font) with 1 inch margins.  Members of the Committee should receive the proposal two weeks prior to the defense.
  • The Ph.D. Proposal will be presented to the Ph.D. Thesis Examination Committee during a one hour defense/ examination. The student should plan for a 30 minute presentation of the research plan and expected results.

One week prior to your proposal defense, please notify the MSE Chair, Dr. JC Zhao.

How to Compose Your Committee for the Ph.D Proposal

Speak with your advisor about composing your committee. 
Committee criteria:

  • Ph.D. dissertation committees require a minimum of five voting members of the Graduate Faculty, including three full members.
  • Doctoral Capstone Examining Committees (e.g., Ed.D, Au.D.) require a minimum of five voting members of Graduate Faculty, including three full members or associate members (two of these three must be full members).
  • The committee chair should be the candidate's advisor. A committee may have co-chairs. A Ph.D. Committee Chair must be a full member of the Graduate Faculty. In the case of a Doctoral Capstone Examining Committees, an associate member can serve as chair under certain conditions. Co-chair requests should be included in the Nomination of Committee form. If the committee has already been approved, please submit a new form.
  • Each committee must have a Dean's Representative as a voting or non-voting member. The Dean's Representative should have a research interest related to that of the student/candidate. The Dean's Rep must also be a tenured member of the Graduate Faculty and must have a tenure home different from the student's program as well as that of the chair and any co-chair. 
  • If you include a committee member that is not of the Graduate Faculty, the form of Nomination of Graduate Faculty must be completed in consultation with your advisor and the department. Your advisor must start this process with the department. This process can take at least six weeks for approval.